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Thomas Brown (1785-1867) was the second governor of Florida, serving from 1849-1853. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Brown worked in the mercantile business in Alexandria and served in the Virginia Legislature in 1827. In 1828, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida. As a Whig, he was president of the legislative council in 1838, a member of the constitutional convention in 1839, and a member of the first Florida House of Representatives under statehood in 1845.
In October 1848, Brown successfully ran for Governor of Florida, defeating Democratic candidate W. Bailey. Brown took office nearly one year later, on October 1, 1849. Brown's administration established a public seminary in Ocala, improved transportation within the state, and authorized construction of a plank toll road from Jacksonville to Lake City. Despite his successes, Brown's term as governor was between the Second and Third Seminole Wars and was a time of increasing contention between Florida's white settlers and native Seminoles. Brown left office on October 3, 1853.
This series consists of official correspondence of Thomas Brown, second governor of Florida. The records reflect the official, constitutional, and political duties of the Office of the Governor. The series contains incoming and outgoing correspondence, and documents various appointments and recommendations, permissions, pardons, and warrants that Brown issued during his term. The correspondence also covers such subjects as internal improvements, military and Indian affairs, and legislative actions.
The series includes a folder titled "Slavery," which contains two letters with brief mention of an enslaved man named Jack. John B. Hardin allegedly stole Jack from his enslaver, Joseph Forsyth in Milton, Florida, and took him into Shelby County, Alabama, where Sheriff John T. McCormic arrested them both. Forsyth then requested legal action against Hardin in Florida where he committed the theft.
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For more of Thomas Brown's gubernatorial correspondence, see Series S32, Territorial and State Governors Letterbooks, 1836-1909 (Volumes 4 and 5).
The State Archives organized this collection from multiple accessions transferred from the State Library of Florida.
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Subject Access Fields:
Brown, Thomas, 1785-1867
Appointments. Military administration. Pardon Florida